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Statement by Director General of Political Affairs Paul Teesalu at a side event "Water cooperation as a tool for conflict prevention", 18 September 2017


I would like to thank Switzerland, Slovenia, Costa Rica and Senegal for hosting this excellent event.

Estonia is proud to be one of the 15 co-convening countries for the High-Level Panel on Water and Peace.

The report of the panel is crucially important because it proactively deals with an issue that has been frequently described as likely to become one of the biggest source of conflict in the 21st century.

While there has been a wide recognition of this potential threat, unfortunately acting on this important acknowledgement is falling behind.

That is why the key findings of the report are so crucial: we need to ensure that the legal foundations, institutional framework, financial backing and political support are in place to achieve the task of successfully turning water from a potential source of conflict to a tool of peace. And these four goals are something we should work towards together.

We, as the countries who are spearheading this initiative, should assume the leadership in taking this important task forward.

As a matter of urgency, we need to build the political momentum and make fellow countries understand that this question should be given the highest priority.

The thinking behind the High-Level Panel on Water and Peace is also perfectly aligned with the Secretary-General’s agenda to make a shift and move from reacting to preventing.

We must keep on that course, we must build political momentum and we must be persistent until we see the results, because there is simply too much at stake to fail in this.

Furthermore, successful cooperation in this field can serve as a guiding example for other fields, where also such cooperation and prevention is needed.

I sincerely hope that today’s event will strengthen our collective determination to lead on this topic, and add to the much-needed political momentum to advance water cooperation.

Estonia remains committed to this important cause. 


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